Charles Lindsay

Charles Lindsay, OSA EARS – Real Time Rain Forest Sound (trailer), 2014.

When I think of politics I think of monkeys. Seriously, we learn so much about ourselves and our socio-political underpinnings by observing a troupe of white face capuchins in action – their hierarchies and behaviors, and how they listen. My first intention when entering the rain forest is to slow way down, to listen to the world as it was long before humans appeared. This offers time travel in a very real sense, listening to the deep past and the present, simultaneously. The OSA EARS project is situated in one of the most biodiverse rain forests on Earth and is designed to share this eco-gem in real time with people anywhere on Earth. The enviro-political implications and opportunities are obvious, but the transmissions begin with the gift of time travel.


Charles Lindsay, Monkey Terror – OSA, Costa Rica, 2012.


Charles Lindsay, Bamboo in Wind (Stereo Contact Mics), 2012.

Charles Lindsay is a multi-disciplinary artist interested in technology, eco-systems, semiotics, and esoteric forms of humor. He creates immersive environments, sound installations, sculptures built from salvaged aerospace and bio-tech equipment, videos and photographs. Lindsay recently migrated from his position as the SETI Institute’s first Artist in Residence (2011-2015) to the SETI AIR Program Director. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, artist in residence at Imagine Science Films and the innovator behind OSA EARS – a project designed to deliver real time sound from one of the world’s most bio-diverse rain forests to anyone anywhere with internet. During his second term as artist in residence Lindsay developed “CODE Humpback” – an installation combining ideas about encrypted signals and inter-species communication. His advisor / collaborator is SETI Institute scientist Dr. Laurance Doyle, who along with colleagues from UC Davis and the Alaska Whale Foundation used the mathematics of information theory to determine that humpback whale vocalizations have rule-structure complexity, what in human languages is called “syntax.” The humpback communication system is an ancient global language – yet we remain effectively alien to each other. CODE Humpback debuted at The Bolinas Museum during the show ‘Transmit / Receive.’ It will be shown again at MassMoca beginning spring, 2016.